They didn’t know we were seeds.
How will you feed your soul? What will help it grow?
How will you feed your soul? What will help it grow?
This post was inspired by hearing about Donald Trump’s fascination with nuclear weapons.
Nuclear apocalypse tends to invoke a little bit of unease, now doesn’t it. It’s hard not to
flee to Canada react with fear to all the things currently imploding in the world. My husband and I have remarked more than once in the last several weeks that it feels as though things are falling apart…that the center cannot hold.
But I really don’t think the world is quite as doomed as it seems.
When I think about my own life and the times that things fell apart—because they eventually always do, don’t they, like a plant that drops its wilted flowers and goes to seed, eventually dropping those too in order start the process all over again—the most painful and difficult times in my own life were also the times that most healed me and opened my heart. Each time I have painfully put myself together, I’ve discovered a stronger, braver, and more fearless version of myself emerge.
Maybe the same will be true for our nation and world. Perhaps a braver, more fair and just, and less fearful world will emerge after all the turmoil.
But hot damn, the falling apart process ain’t easy. I usually want to retreat under the covers with a bag of Cheetos, waiting until someone gives me the all clear! before I surface again. Unfortunately the call never seems to come. (So ridiculously unfair). The only call I get is my husband when he finds the orange crumbs on the sheets going, seriously, were you eating Cheetos in bed? (Uh yes, and your point??)
Yes, hard times call for Cheetos but also bravery. And self-compassion. And a kind-hearted village, because none of us, and I mean none of us, can do it alone. Warm fuzzy puppies also tend to help (who incidentally sort of smell like Cheetos but you kind of just ignore that about them).
It’s so easy to fall into helplessness, isn’t it? Whether it is the world at large or our own little inner world. I am grateful that I am not currently dealing with any major life upheavals. (Though trust me, there are a few in my very recent review mirror.) The little things I am dealing with now (and they are little compared to nuclear appocolypse) have been frustrating me lately. For instance, I’m trying to start groundwork for making some career changes. It feels like I keep putting things out into the universe again and again and…nothing. I’m talking both intentions and actions. What gives?
I was feeling grumble-y about this recently. Well, lo and behold the other night a huge snail showed up on my window, leaving a long streak in rainy window. As far as snails go, this one was kinda cute. I tend to view odd encounters like this one as symbols from spirit. I asked myself, snail, what are you here to tell me? Slow and steady, slow and steady, and you will get there, immediately popped into my head.
Useful advice for sure. But there is more to snail than meets the eye. I was reading about snails and apparently they are capable of laying dormant for a long, long while but then when the rains finally come, they spring to life. Nothing, nothing, nothing, and then… boom! Movement!
Perhaps the same way in our lives and in our world. Keep the hope. It may feel that small actions are not making a difference. It may seem as though you are getting nowhere. But when you least expect it, cleansing rains of renewal may spring everything to life.
(And my personal prayer for the universe: when that day comes may we all collectively put down our Cheetos and prevent the Cheetos-colored man from ever touching a nuclear weapon, mkay?)
The other night I woke at 5:30 am—that liminal time where you still have one foot in a dream world—and a word appeared in front of me. I sat up straight in bed and knew I had to write it down, this gift from the dream-space. I googled the meaning, took a screen shot, and saved it in my phone.
I went back to sleep and upon fully waking vaguely remembered something about a word popping in my head. Aha, I had been clever enough to save it in my phone! There it was: sinew.
I’ve sat with this word the last 24 hours. I’ve let it accompany me on the comings and goings as we visit my in-laws for the week.
The other night, I heard someone rustling around in the kitchen before dinner. Iced tea had just been made. There was a click of a radio being turned on. For a moment I thought it was my own mother, summer tea in hand, small kitchen television turned to CNN.
It wasn’t my mother of course, but my mother-in-law. The ache that was lingering in the background, a sullenness that was a small throb, came right to the forefront. Oh, I miss my mother. Oh, I miss my father. I am not here to fill that space, though, I reminded the small child within me. This visit is for my daughter.
I am soaking in the joy of seeing her with grandparents, a grandfather who teaches her how to play “pea porridge pie” and explains to her the merits of free market capitalism. A grandmother who insisting on combing my daughter’s unwieldy hair and telling her, “ears are not just for listening, but for tucking hair behind!” Cousins who shoot nerf guns at her and share their bikes with her. Oh, this fills my heart. This is family. This is not my family, but it is family.
In the midst of all of this I thought about my word sinew. I read the definition. Deeply within, I fully understood why this word appeared before me in the early morning.
Tough fibrous tissue, uniting bone to bone, or muscle to bone. The thing that gives it strength or bind it together.
Alas, my family’s ties are sinew. The ties that currently feel stretched to their limit, so taut and fraught with tension you think, surely they must break, just might withstand the stress.
This sinew—this connective tissue, our shared DNA, the bonds that unite us bone to bone—are designed to bear it all, I am reminded. The stuff of survival, of ropes and weapons, they are resilient.
Like my family, the word is of Germanic origin.
As I sit in my in-law’s kitchen, I will observe the sinews of my husband’s family (not without its own bonds stretched tight in places, a good lesson to keep in mind.) And as I sit in the liminal space that is the uncertain relationship with my father, an in-between place of its own that is not what it was and not yet what it will become, I will close my eyes and clutch this word. sin·ew. Perhaps a whisper from the beyond that in the end, ties won’t break, and are stronger than they seem.